An alternative to zirconium alloys is discovered in the National Research Nuclear University
Scientists from the National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI) have found out how to improve the safety of nuclear reactors. They suggest using isotopically modified molybdenum instead of zirconium alloys in the manufacture of fuel elements.
The possibility of such a replacement has long been discussed, because zirconium alloys are known for their high corrosion resistance in water and a low thermal neutron capture cross section. They actively react with water and generate heat, producing hydrogen and accelerating the degradation of the fuel rods coating.
Scientists suggest to manufacture fuel-element cladding from Molybdenum, like zirconium, has a high corrosion resistance, but its thermal conductivity is higher. The main problem with the use of Molybdenum as a material for the fuel elements production is the expensiveness of the technological process. The use of this metal will require increasing in the level of uranium enrichment.
Physicists conducted a number of experiments, the results of which showed that the most effective separation scheme can be realized with the help of a single or double rectangular-sectioned cascade.
«This study made it possible to obtain all the necessary information for designing a separation plant for a large-scale production of isotopically modified molybdenum on the basis of technology of the non-isotopes separation on gas centrifuges», Valentin Borisevich, Professor of the Molecular Physics Department MEPhI, said.
The results of this research Chemical Engineering Research and Design.
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